RSS

Category Archives: My Blog Opinions

Emirates Cup and High Expectation

Hello yet again everyone. I trust you are all OK?

The Emirates cup is just around the corner and there is a bit more of a variety of teams in this year’s competition.

Paris St-Germain have entered for the third time. New York Red Bulls will represent the USA. There is a lot of hype surrounding them as it sees the return of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. As I am sure you will know, he is the clubs leading goalscorer having scored 226 goals in his Arsenal career. Boca Juniors complete the four team set representing Argentina. They are the most successful club in Argentina and are based in La Boca which is in Buenos Aires.

The selection of teams is interesting as most of the teams usually entered are from Scotland, Italy, Spain, Germany or France who are all very much local to the UK. However, this year, as well as having a team from France, we have a team from North America and a team from South America which in my opinion is a nice twist. Maybe next year an Australian team could play, or an African team. Who knows?

Moving on, let’s think about next season shall we?

A lot of people are going on about how Arsenal should win the league and if not, Wenger should go. But answer me this: 1. If Arsene leaves, who would replace him and 2. Having not won anything in seven years, do you seriously think we should immediately be winning premier league titles and the Champions League? I think not.

The best way in my opinion to start winning the big trophies, is to gradually win other trophies, such as the Carling Cup and FA cup, gradually start to believe that you can win trophies and then really go for it. It takes time.

Quick transfer news to finish and it looks very much as though Spanish midfielder Juan Mata is joining Arsenal. According to the Daily Mirror, himself and family have flown into London to discuss a potential£15m deal. In my opinion I think he would be a good signing but it does also point the finger that Arsene has given up hope of keeping Cesc Fabregas which means he is almost certain to leave for Barcelona. Another pointer that Cesc is leaving is his omission from the Emirates Cup squad.

The Times claim that Arsenal are going to up their bid To £13m to try to acquire Phil Jagielka despite Everton manager David Moyes valuing him at £18m. I doubt there is much truth in that but we shall see in the near future.

And on that note, let’s hope for more quality signings and a good tournament at the Emirates cup.

Until next time folks.

Written by Liam Mercer

 

Tags: , ,

Arsenal New Season Preparations

Hello again. I trust you are all OK?

Pre-season is now in full swing in Asia after victory vs Malaysia XI, 4-0 thanks to goals from a Ramsey penalty, Walcott, Vela and a rare goal from Rosicky. A 1-1 draw vs Hangzhou Greentown followed.

Pre-season is always a nervous yet exciting time for everyone, from the fans to the players to the board. It is the time to see how well new players cope and adapt to different styles of play with their new clubs and fans get too see their new heroes in action for the first time.

These coming few months should tell Arsene Wenger what needs improving, and how much money he needs to spend in order to improve that position and make the team as solid as possible.

Looking back at last season, I think the place that needs improving most is defence.

With Gael Clichy being sold to Manchester City, we must and should be looking at how to replace him. Do we buy a left back in the transfer market such as Leighton Baines? Or do we move Thomas Vermaelen across?

My favoured option would be to buy someone because last season showed just how much we missed Vermaelen’s presence at centre back when he was out of action for virtually the whole of last season. We can’t afford to take that risk again if we want to win trophies, keep Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, attract other top players and become one of the most successful clubs in Europe and the world. That shows just how important he is at centre back.

The biggest problem however, which has been mentioned by sky sports countless times, is the mental stability within the team. At times we go seven or eight games without defeat, we then suddenly lose one or two and our heads drop. This means we go a few games without victory and we lose ground in the title race and lose focus in the FA cup and champions league.

If we want to become Champions League and Premiership winners on a regular basis, then we must pick our heads up immediately after a defeat and get on with things.

If you are reading this now and thinking, ‘what about goalkeepers? Surely they are a problem?’ then your answer is that I do not believe Arsenal have a problem in terms of goalkeeping at all. As a goalkeeper myself, I know full well (and I am sure other goalkeepers can back me up on this) that a goalkeeper is only as good as the defence in front of him or her.

Look at Chelsea for example; there goalie is Petr Cech but look at the back four in front of him in the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry (he is a prick I know but there is no doubting his talent) and David Luiz.

Man United also had a strong back four last season when Van Der Sar was in goal. They had Vidic, Ferdinand and (another prick) Evra. All good quality players in front of a talented goalkeeper.

If you look at Arsenal, we had a very talented goalkeeper in Wojciech Szczesny in goal, but in front of him was Djourou who had just returned from a lengthy injury, Squillaci who looked unstable and unsettled, Koscielny who was young and not much of a presence. At wing back we had Sagna and Clichy but when one of them wasnt around, we had BIG problems. Eboue to start is not a natural right back anyway and cannot defend to save his life, and Kieran Gibbs who, as much as I like him, is unreliable and tries too hard to push forward. As much as I like and will support all those players, that happens to be the harsh reality.

Now do you see what I mean by a good goalie always has a good back four in front of him?

Finally, I would just like to thank everyone who read my last post and gave me a few tips on how I can improve.

Anyway, that’s enough from me and I will hopefully write again soon!

Take care

By Liam Mercer

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 17, 2011 in My Blog Opinions, Pre Season

 

Tags: , , ,

It’s time to establish our intentions

Is this the season where Arsene Wenger will finally change his principles? For us to compete on any front next season, he simply has to.

Post Champions League final, 2006, Arsene Wenger ripped up his rulebook & tried to teach Sir Alex Ferguson something about management, five years later, nothing has come to fruition. He injected all of his faith into youth and we have since been unable to break our trophy duck under the new philosophy.

Is it just me that feels this is the defining summer? If he fails to bring in the required players, we’ll struggle to maintain our Champions League status, never mind competing for the Premier League title. This is without even mentioning the possible departures of our captain, Cesc Fabregas and one of the Premier League’s most outstanding performers in 2010/11 – Samir Nasri.

At the time of Patrick Viera departing Arsenal, we had an adequate replacement with Fabregas, but if he is sold, will we reinvest the money? I’m not so sure, do we have an adequate replacement? Again, I’m not so sure. Consequently, I don’t want us to sell. Even if people say his heart isn’t there, he illustrated in his performances last season that he still enjoys playing for Arsenal, he gave 110% in every game he participated in.

Nasri’s situation though, is unconfirmed. He has yet to tell Wenger he wants to leave, as far as I’m concerned and no quotes have been issued that have stated Nasri’s unhappiness at Arsenal.

Irrespective of where Fabregas & Nasri end up come August 31st, just persistently remind yourself, no player is irreplaceable.

Written by Dominic Lostitch

 

Tags: , , ,

Contributors Article: Where Does Arsenal’s Defensive Flaw Actually Lie?

Same old story, same old story. Another season of disappointment has finally come to an end, a season of ups and downs. Many Arsenal fans around the world still thought that this was a season to remember, a season when we finally managed to break our trophy duck… February was when all went wrong. Getting to the Carling Cup final, beating an almost “unbeatable” Barcelona on home soil, progressing in the FA Cup, and trailing Manchester United in second place, we looked set to have a season to remember.

Our season started to slip down drastically, a defensive mixed-up caused what seemed to be the easiest goal to win a final match. We lost against Birmingham, some gooners had imagined what it would feel like to be favourites and lose. We did lose. After that, it was predictable mental breakdown. Look at these players, they’re young and fragile. Imagine promising a big thing to a little child and then not fulfilling it.

Some optimistic fans (who weren’t many) could still move on and said, ‘Don’t worry, we still have 3 trophies to win’. Some desperate fans kept looking for a scapegoat they could blame on regarding the shocking loss. Jack Wilshere expressed his disappointment on his twitter account, everybody did. But they all sounded much less dejected than they looked, they tried to keep in mind that there were still 3 major trophies to win. Unfortunately, young players are young players. We were thrashed out of the FA Cup and Champions League in quick succession, and instead of overtaking United, we went further down to fourth.

Defense, if you asked most Arsenal fans, they would say that defense was our main issue, which was pretty much right. According to the statistics (as shown below), among the top 4 finishers, we conceded the most. We conceded 43 goals.

1

Manchester United

80

78:37

2

Chelsea

71

69:33

3

Manchester City

71

60:33

4

Arsenal

68

72:43

2010/2011 season saw Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Sébastien Squillaci, and Thomas Vermaelen being our choices for centre back position, and with Thomas Vermaelen being sidelined for almost 8 months, it left us with only three of them being our centre back choices. Earlier in August 2010, Sébastien Squillaci finally signed for Arsenal from Sevilla, everybody expected him to be the typical French experienced defender that could be the answer to Arsenal’s weak defense. Despite wearing number 18, previously worn by Mikael Silvestre, he was believed not to end up the same way as Silvestre did. He was believed to offer physical presence and cope with aerial balls well, he was believed to be a star.

I am not into superstition, but 18 doesn’t seem a good kit number in Arsenal. Back to Squillaci’s story, he did SEEM to do well in 2010, Koscielny (who had partnered him most of the times) put in decent performance which apparently shadowed and blurred Squillaci’s error, but his true form was being slowly revealed going to 2011. An own goal to Wigan, 2 points wasted, a not necessary red card in an FA Cup match against Huddersfield, and some shaky moments. That doesn’t sound like how an experienced defender should perform.

Then Johan Djourou managed to rise up through the ranks, offering the “real” physical presence and height, he was often seen to deal with aerial balls very well. Injury hampered him again, everyone started to panic like he was the man whom we wouldn’t win without. That showed how important Johan was. I said “was”, because in the last 3 fixtures, he wasn’t himself anymore.

Defensive uncertainty has been a MAJOR issue within Arsenal FC, several players were brought in and were hoped to put it straight. Mikael Silvestre, Sebastien Squillaci, Laurent Koscielny, Thomas Vermaelen, even a member of the “Invincibles”, Sol Campbell was re-signed.  They were all hoped to form a strong defensive line. But the fact had never been unusual, NO players could even be half as good as Tony Adams or Steve Bould. In fact, Squillaci and Silvestre are the worst flop ever. All Arsenal fans had been moaning about our defenders not being able to deal with set-pieces. Going into statistics, their complaint was proved to be right.  According to Opta Joe, we condeded a higher proportion of goals from set-pieces (53.5%) this season than any other in the Premier League. I’m not a person who takes information straight away, I did my own research and going through our 43 goals conceded in 2010/2011 season.

It may be useless and a little stupid for me not to believe the stats Opta Joe gave us, but my research went a bit shocking. All I know about set-pieces is when the ball is played after stoppage, such as corner kicks, throw-ins,  free-kicks, and penalties (can’t mention more than those).  I did go through all the goals and I COULD be very wrong but here is the result…

Goals conceded through open play=

–          Liverpool’s 1st (A)

–          Blackburn Rovers’ 1st (A)

–          Bolton’s 1st (H) *through header

–          All West Brom’s 3 goals (H)

–          Chelsea’s 1st (A)

–          Birmingham’s 1st (H) *through header

–          Spurs’ 1st (H)

–          Fulham’s 1st (H)

–          Aston Villa’s 1st (A)

–          United’s 1st (A) *through header

–          Everton’s 1st (H)

–          West Brom’s 2nd (A)

–          Blackpool’s 1st (A)

–          Spurs’ 1st and 2nd (A)

–          Stoke’s 2nd and 3rd (A)

–          Aston Villa’s 1st and 2nd (H)

–          Fulham’s 1st (A)

–          Fulham’s 2nd (A) *through header

–          Newcastle’s 2nd (A)

That already counts 24 goals conceded through open play. I’m saying this one more time, this is only relevant to my own understanding of open-play which I have a big chance to be wrong about. Now, going to our goals conceded through set-pieces

Goals conceded through set-pieces=

–          Chelsea’s 2nd (A) *Alex’s free-kick

–          Newcastle’s 1st (H) *Carroll’s header

–          Everton’s 1st (A) *Cahill’s goal started out from a corner-kick

–          Spurs’ 2nd (H) *Van Der Vaart’s penalty kick

–          Spurs’ 3rd (H) *Kaboul’s header from a free-kick

–          Villa’s 2nd (A) *Ciaran Clark’s header started out from a corner-kick

–          Chelsea’s 1st (H) *Ivanovic’s header from a free-kick

–          Wigan’s 1st (A) *A penalty

–          Wigan’s 2nd (A) *Squillaci’s own goal

–          Newcastle’s 1st (A) *Barton’s penalty kick

–          Newcastle’s 3rd (A) *Barton’s penalty kick

–          Newcastle’s 4th (A) *Tiote’s volley started out from a half cleared free-kick

–          West Brom’s 1st (A) *header from a corner-kick

–          Liverpool’s 1st (H) *controversial penalty-kick

–          Spurs’ 3rd (A) *penalty kick

–          Bolton’s 1st (A) *Sturridge scored an indirect goal from a corner-kick

–          Bolton’s 2nd (A) *their winning goal, a header from a corner-kick

–          Stoke’s 1st (A) *Jones’ goal from a free-kick

–          Sunderland’s 1st (A) *Bent’s goal, started out from a free-kick

19 goals were conceded through set-pieces. I’m just giving my opinions of set-pieces goals, I would really love to receive any objections regarding my observation. Feel free to leave comments.

2010/2011 season also saw us conceding 9 penalty kicks, in which 2 were saved (Manuel Almunia’s save in a game against WBA and Szczesny’s save against Bolton),  1 was missed (Rooney’s penalty miss), and 6 were scored.

If my data is correct , then where did Opta Joe get that percentage from? I really want to see where I did wrong. And again, now a big “IF”, if my data is correct, let me put it this way… our defensive weakness didn’t only highlight in set-pieces, but pretty much our open play defense was something to fix.

Apart from my argument, I personally believe, unless Arsene splashed the cash on some decent defenders, we would be likely to stretch our trophy less season.

Written by Rhesa Ananta

 

Tags: , , ,

Contributors Post: A Gooner Gotta Dream!

Every time the footballing season comes to an end, it signals the start of transfer rumors. As usual, it is annoying for us gooners. How so u ask?

Well it’s because there are more news on players linked away from our club than those linked to us. Yes, we’ve already signed Carl Jenkinson, which is a great thing for the club’s future, as he is a young, talented, tall player. Mind you, most importantly he is English and a big gooner. We know whenever he takes the pitch he will give his all, at the moment we don’t have many of such players.

What is annoying me more is, the uncertainty of players like Nasri and Clichy, who have got just one year to go in their contract and Cesc Fabregas’s eventual return to Barcelona. To be honest, I would love if Wenger resolves Nasri’s situation soon, I seriously can’t stand united fans drooling over our French gunner.

Does Nasri deserve the wages he is asking for? Well, considering the rest of the stars at arsenal will be paid less than him, then no. He at least deserves an wage increase, we can’t loose him, and certainly not to united, it will just be disastrous. He has been fantastic this season, a little bit inconsistent but he single handedly won us games, we should keep him, we should keep our main stars.

On the other hand, Fabregas’s situation is inevitable; he will leave us sooner or later. I think by now Arsenal fans around the world have accepted that. Personally I would love it if Wenger kept him for one more season, buy well established players and aim higher next season so that we will be able to give Cesc a proper send off by winning trophies. We at least owe him that after all he has done for us.

We have to remember, transfer windows barely fulfill our expectations so it’s safe if we don’t dream big. We are used to it after all. But I feel it’s going to be different this time, this window seem different, and Wenger is under huge pressure to spend. He actually was ready to pay big for united bound Jones, that sure states intent.

Now that Carl is our first signing, we expect few more to follow. If the rumors in the papers are anything to go by, we will be signing Gervinho next week and we are in talks to sign both Samba and Cahill. Even so, we still need a DM and CF. I say sell, Nicky, Denilson, Diaby, Almunia, Clichy, Eboue and Buy De Rossi, Baines and Benzima.

Just imagine what Arsenal could be with such a strong team and it just get stronger if u take a look at the reserve team, we have Miyaichi, Wellington Silva, Lansbury, JET, Miquel and whole lot of young guns who are ready to fight for a place.

I know am just setting myself for a disappointment for dreaming big, But a gooner gotta dream, right?!

Hang in there beautiful gooners, glory day will be hear soon!

I leave u with a pic of our new recruit and a die hard gooner.

Written by Alias Astur – I’m new on the site, check out the ‘About’ tab to find out more about me.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why I think it is time for Arshavin to leave

Andrey Arshavin has endured a below par season for the Gunners. He has been subject to much criticism concerning his mentality during games and at Arsenal. However, there are stats that the media and some fans seem don’t seem to know. He has played 51 times for Arsenal this season, more than any other Arsenal player. In that time, he has scored 10 goals, including that memorable goal at the Emirates to give Arsenal a 2-1 advantage against Barcelona in the Champions League. He also has 17 assists to his name. These stats will definitely shock you; I was certainly surprised when I found this out. Arsenal fans have been critical towards Arshavin despite these stats, claiming he has not shown enough effort this season and should be sold this summer. The last few performances have summed up his up and down season. He had a brilliant game when he came on at half time against Manchester United, making crucial tackles to win back possession on numerous occasions. However, in the next two games against Aston Villa and Stoke, he was thoroughly disappointing, being subbed off in both matches.

But should Arshavin be sold given these facts? My answer is ‘yes’. His stats show he still has the ability to be a brilliant player, but he has been too inconsistent for my liking this season. It’s not like we are short of cover, with Wellington Silva and Ryo Miyachi waiting in the wings (excuse the pun!). Miyachi has received rave reviews at the tender age of 18, after signing for the Gunners in January. The Japanese sensation, on loan at Dutch club Feyenoord, has scored 3 goals in 12 appearances, also creating 4 goals. We can’t forget Samir Nasri either, who has been one of the players of the seasons, weighing in with 15 goals. However, he is still to sign a new contract and all Arsenal fans are hoping he stays, although he has been linked with moves away from the Emirates, namely to Bayern Munich or Inter Milan.

I think that an offer of around 10 million pounds should be accepted, as Arshavin is 29, and isn’t getting any younger. I don’t think he should be sold to a team in the Premier league as he still has the potential to produce a bit of magic and knowing our luck, he would produce his best performance of the season against us. He is most likely to go to Zenit St. Petersburg, the club which Arsenal signed the Russian captain from. Zenit have already expressed their willingness to welcome Arshavin back to their club, saying the door is always open for him to return. He would undoubtedly be in the starting eleven at Zenit, unlike Arsenal, where he is most likely to have a seat on the bench, second to Samir Nasri.

follow me on twitter @arsenalopinion

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 24, 2011 in My Blog Opinions

 

Tags: